Two seasons in a row, Indiana has come into a game against the Iowa Hawkeyes with plenty of positive momentum.
A year ago, the Hoosiers were on a two-game winning streak, beating Minnesota in overtime at home, and then four days later impressively beating Penn St. in Happy Valley.
This year, the Hoosiers were coming off a rout of Michigan at home and then a tight loss at Wisconsin, where even the strongest critics of the program lauded the Hoosier players for their effort on the court.
But once again, Indiana came out of their match to Iowa with an embarrassing loss. Despite a change in coach and some players rotating in and out over the last two years, Iowa once again took Indiana to task, winning 91-77 and angering fans, and head coach Tom Crean alike.
This year's loss was particularly unsettling because it seemed like the Hoosiers were getting back on the right track after the previous two performances. After a six-game losing streak, where the Hoosiers defense was as poor as ever, home or away, they showed the same problems once again against Iowa.
No interior presence.
No communication between players.
End result. Allowing 91 points to an Iowa team that had no wins in the Big Ten up to that point, lost earlier in the season to South Dakota St. and Long Beach State (both at home!), and that had averaged just 62.5 points per game in the Big Ten season.
It remains to be seen if the games previous games against Michigan and Wisconsin were just pure aberrations, or if the poor performance against bottom feeders Iowa was just a bad day.
One thing is sure.
At the moment, this team is not capable of replacing injured or hurt starters. What was once thought of as a season where the Hoosiers will finally have some depth, injuries have shown that beneath the layers of the starting lineup, is very little talent and toughness.
Regardless of injuries, to see a squad wilt as it did against an Iowa team sitting in last place in the Big Ten is disappointing, to say the least.
Losing a leader like Verdell Jones III, and not having anyone step up, is equally disappointing.
At this point in the season, the players must realize that any realistic shot of a postseason appearance is over. Hell, they will be lucky if they survive the first game of the Big Ten Tournament.
The coaches aren't to blame for this. Sometimes, there just isn't much you can do about it other than give your 110 percent, and try your best.
It's times like these that the Hoosier Nation finds out who the real fans are from the fake ones.
And after the Hoosiers win banner number six, it will only be that much sweeter.
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